Voice, by Rijn Collins, is not a song.
Well, metaphorically, you could say that it is a song. A love song to Belgium, Ireland and Iceland; and to their languages especially.
Voice is a book. A slim volume. Just 90 small pages. But a weighty tome.
Rijn has been writing for Stereo Stories since our inception in 2014. And the themes she has framed around stories about songs are among the themes in this micro-memoir: mental health, friendship, Europe, solitude, languages.
Voice also touches on witchery, paganism and taxidermy.
Music, naturally, gets a mention: A sleeveless T-shirt held pins of my favourite punk bands – 7 Year Bitch and Bikini Kill – and showed my tattoos…
…We stood in a cornfield in Belgium watching The Cure live onstage, our mouths caked with black lipstick and our arms around each other as fireworks lit the sky. The Berlin Wall had just fallen…
The key to the strength of this book is Rijn’s light touch. Not light-hearted, no. (Although there is some humour, especially in the vignette about working in an Irish-themed pub.) Rijn does not dwell too long. She gives you a glimpse into dark corners, revealing just enough for the reader to join the dots.
There’s no self-pity, despite the demons Rijn has stared down since she was a teenager.
Ultimately there is grace (in the writing), fortitude (in bouncing back) and love (for languages, landscapes, and friends.)
Congratulations, Rijn. We look forward to your debut novel, due out next year.
Voice is available from SomeKind Press.